Review Sunday: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (#6)

Throne of Glass #6 (penultimate)

In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.”

I know, I know, I’m so behind!  But I was so wary of starting this when the next one wasn’t out yet!  SJM has been developing a bit of a cliffhanger streak, after all.

1.  The characters.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the new characters, Yrene and Sartaq especially (healer and prince respectively) and I found myself deeply invested in their personal story lines early on.  I went into this book disliking Chaol mostly because of his stiffness and general unwieldiness as a character however, given the extended time we spend in his head in this installment, he started to grow on me.  Or at least I started to develop a deeper understanding of his character.  I would also echo that sentiment with Nesryn.  When we left her in QoS (#5), she was still relatively an outsider and we really didn’t know that much about her and throughout the course of this book, we also really get to dive deeply into her character and her motivations.

“He’d almost told the princess that she could keep Hellas’s Horse, but there was something to be said about the prospect of charging down Morath foot soldiers atop a horse named Butterfly.”

2.  The plot.  This is mostly a book focused on self-discovery and reconciliation which is something that’s a little different than most of the other books (exempting HoF) and consequently a large portion is predominantly character-driven.  However, the author does insert quite a bit of plot drama including the continued Valg pressures.  This interweaving is very well done and feels incredibly seamless.  This book also clarified the situation in leaps and bounds.  After the madness of EoS and QoS, the waters were a bit muddy and this novel really helped clear away the debris.  Mostly, this comes from the step back from the main continent where Aelin and the rest of her cadre is situated.  Stepping back from the situation and viewing it from outside eyes, while initially off-putting (who wants to step away from Aelin?), is extremely helpful in this regard.  As a sort of side note, anyone the connections between novels is perfection.  There are so many through lines that are brought to light that trace all the way back to Assassin’s Blade.

“I will cherish it always. No matter what may befall the world. No matter the oceans, or mountains, or forests in the way.”

3.  The world.  I haven’t brought this up for a while in my reviews for this series but I feel it’s appropriate given that we’re able to explore a whole new continent.  I wish I could say I had a clear picture of the people that inhabit the southern continent but I only picked up a fuzzy, slightly out-of-focus picture.  While it’s good for a single book, I wish there would have been more.  We get a bit of world-building but I don’t think there’s enough seeing if you know what I mean.  We’re told it’s a peaceful country, but we don’t see that.  The only setting where I really got a strong sense of place was the mountains where the ruks and rukhin live.  The traditions and attitudes there are very well placed but as for the rest, there were only a few hints here and there.

“Aelin frightens everyone.”

4.  The romance.  I’m not going to say too much on this front because of spoilers but I will say that I loved both of the romances that developed and how they did so.  The author was very true to her characters.

“A gift. A gift from a queen who had seen another woman in hell and thought to reach back a hand. With no thought of it ever being returned. A moment of kindness, a tug on a thread.”

5.  Ableism.  I feel like I have to address this as it’s such a huge topic throughout the course of the book.  Chaol and Nesryn go to Antica for two reasons: first for the armies, second for Chaol’s legs.  In QoS, Chaol was paralyzed from the hips down in the glass castle battle and the best healers left in the world reside in the Torre in Antica.  Chaol goes through so much while being healed, all the while fighting the instinct to view himself as broken and not himself.  While this is remedied in the end (the language), I’m undecided on the way it was resolved.  I am not at all qualified to speak about ableism so I’ll leave it at that.  Suffice to say, that language exists here.

“You must enter where you fear to tread”

The Final Verdict:
Intricate, absorbing, and engrossing installment.
4.5 stars

0 thoughts on “Review Sunday: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (#6)”

  1. Haha story of my life! This is the one series I pride myself on being on top of and yet I'm still behind. There are so many series that people keep telling me to read but I haven't yet. Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!


  2. Don't worry about being behind, I still haven't read this one either!! I've read everything through EoS but I decided to start a TOG reread this year (starting with the Assassin's Blade) and am only on Heir of Fire. I'm glad to hear though that you found this palatable despite your reservations about Chaol because I am NOT a fan of his and have been dreading this book, but I feel like I need to read it so I can read KoA!


  3. That's exactly the reason why I avoided reading it for so long! I was a fan of Chaol's in ToG but after that, his attitude soured on me. While I don't necessarily like his character any more, I do understand his character a lot better which really made the book worth it for me. If nothing else, there are some fabulous through lines from Assassin's Blade so read it for those! I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it, Cristina 🙂


  4. Firstly sorry – I've been a shocking blogger. I'm not EVER going to catch up with everything that I missed but I think if I just draw a line in the sand I might be able to do a bit better as from now. Maybe. No promises! Ha ha. I reread all of these in preparation for Kingdom of Ash and I was so glad that I did. This book made me understand Chaol all over again when I never thought that was possible. I thoroughly enjoyed Chaol's character development and how the injury was dealt with but not being in a wheelchair myself or ever having dealt with a major spinal injury I can't say for sure how that one pans out for everyone. I did read a resounding YAY review from a woman in a wheelchair herself, however I think that various things will resonate differently with different readers (as is true of anything in a book!). So yeah. Tough one! I loved this book though.. So there's that. Awesome review Laura!


  5. Haha it's all good Di! I was SO behind until this past Friday night when I spend six hours at my computer reading everyone's posts for the past four months. But I'm finally back on track :)I agree! I wasn't really a fan of Chaol since kind of the middle of CoM (his rigid attitude just rubbed me the wrong way) but ToD really helped me understand his character and where he's coming from. I still don't love his character but I understand him more so that's something.Yeah! I always feel like I shouldn't touch topics like ableism mostly because I have absolutely no personal experience (through family members or otherwise). That's really interesting! But yeah different people will definitely have different reactions to the language that Maas uses and how it's resolved. Thanks for stopping by, Di! 🙂


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